I know Piper was one of the first gay/LGBT comic characters (at least in DC), but do we know if he was *the* first? I've seen some sources dispute it by referencing other characters I'm not familiar with - do you know if it was the case that Piper was the first one to actually say officially 'I'm gay' as opposed to just being implied that way?
I’m not an expert on gay history in comics, so I couldn’t say for certain. However, Northstar’s famous coming out issue was in 1992 and Hartley came out in 1991, and I’m not aware of any others around that era from the Big Two (I’m sure indie comics had them beat by a significant margin).
Sandman debuted in 1988 and there were LGBT characters almost from the beginning, but that’s Vertigo and I’m not sure if that counts towards DC’s tally since it’s never been mainstream like superhero stuff. If it does count, then Sandman would have been before Hartley. (It should also be noted that Vertigo technically didn’t debut until the early `90s, so I don’t know if early Sandman should be grandfathered in as part of Vertigo, or if Sandman’s early days would be considered mainstream DC. Certainly there were a lot of cameos of DC characters in the earlier part of the series). I wouldn’t be surprised if there was LGBT content in older pre-Vertigo mature readers titles like Swamp Thing, but am not aware of any.
And for sure there were Marvel and DC characters who were hinted at and implied before then. Chris Claremont had been dropping hints about Mystique and Destiny since about 1980 or so, and he outright stated it in 1990 if you understood the word he used (the Shadow King said Destiny’s was Mystique’s “leman”, which is an archaic word for lover or sweetheart. These days Marvel’s open about them being a couple, but back in the `90s this was a huge delight for X-book fans). Northstar had been occasionally hinted at for years before he came out. Extrano was pretty obviously coded as gay, and he debuted in 1988.
So Hartley is the earliest openly confirmed LGBT character I know of in the Big Two/mainstream comics, but Vertigo has him beat. Does anyone know if I’m missing anybody who was earlier?
I hope you don't mind that I ask but what happened with your sister? I completely understand if you don't wish to share I'm just curious.
It’s alright, love. I don’t mind, it was just a lot last night. There was an armed robbery at her job last night and the police had to keep her for quite some time. She was the only person in the front of the store, so I’m sure there are a few conclusions you can draw from that.
It’s not a big deal, but I do thank you all for any and all support. Sometimes terrible things happen. I’m just glad she’s alive.
One day, Mamaji said to my father, that of all the pools in the world, the most beautiful was a public pool in Paris. That the water there was so clear, you could make your morning coffee with it. That a single swim there changed his life.
You know, my father was right. Richard Parker never saw me as his friend. After all we’d been through, he didn’t even look back. But I have to believe that there was more in his eyes than my own reflection staring back at me. I know I felt it - even if I can’t prove it.